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PhilMech poised to achieve 2013 target

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) said Friday that it is on its way to achieve its 2013 targets set for the distribution of major rice machineries under the Department of Agriculture’s Rice Mechanization Program.

PhilMech Executive Director Rex L. Bingabing said that results for the first ten months in 2013 showed that the agency is likely to achieve the targets for the coordination in the distribution of rice machines for the whole year.

“While I do not expect a 100-percent achievement for a certain number of machines we set for distribution this year, the number of rice machines that PhilMech coordinated for distribution in this year will greatly help the Philippines modernize its rice sector, and achieve rice self-sufficiency eventually,” Bingabing said.

From January to October this year, PhilMech coordinated the distribution of 602 hand tractors out of its 920 target.

While the 2013 target may not be achieved, the number of hand tractors to be distributed this year will likely surpass the 634 distributed last year.

As of the end-October, 87 out of 127 four-wheel tractors have been distributed.

In 2012, a total of 62 four-wheel tractors were distributed.

For rice transplanters, a total of 23 our of 36 have been distributed compared to the 22 distributed last year.

Manually planting rice usually costs P8,000 per hectare for labor and would require several laborers to complete the task.

With the use of a rice transplanter the cost would only reach P3,500 per hectare for fuel and labor expenses.

A rice transplanter can transplant seedlings in one hectare of land in about eight hours.

For reapers, PhilMech coordinated the distribution of a total of 93 out of the targeted 140 for the year compared to the 106 reapers distributed in the previous year.

Sixty units of Combine Harvesters were distributed this year as some 212 of the machines were distributed under the Rice Mechanization Program since 2011.

A Combine Harvester harvests palay (unmilled rice) and packs them into bags in just one operation.

By using a Combine Harvester, savings of about P4,800 per hectare can be realized by using less labor and reducing post-harvest losses.

PhilMech also coordinated the construction of Rice Processing Centers (RPCs), with 44 now undergoing construction in various parts of the country. A total of 74 RPCs have already been awarded to various farmer organizations and recipients, and another 78 are targeted for construction next year.

Bingabing said that the milling recovery of the RPCs is around 65%, which is a big improvement over the 60% of existing mills around the country.

He added that PhilMech is also developing implements for harvesting and transplanting that can be used in small farms and can attached to hand tractors.

The goal of mechanizing palay planting operations, specifically land preparation, planting and harvesting, is to increase output by at around 5 percent.